our Approach

Designing Clusters platform was born from extensive research into the current and historical practices of organising in clusters. This research has shown that many modern-day clusters are not just ‘geographic areas’ but organised entities in their own right, or meta-organisations They are coherent entities capable of collective action.

As meta-organisations, clusters can become key actors of change driving the transformation of their regions.

Viewing your cluster as an organised entity capable of intelligent action is empowering. It can enable your cluster to become a community of like-minded individual organisations striving to achieve common goals through collective action.

However, steering a cluster as a meta-organisation is not a task of a single 'architect' - or a cluster manager - but that of the whole cluster community. Managing such clusters requires new tools and approaches allowing to establish a dialogue with a variety of stakeholders and account for their divergent goals and drives.

Designing Clusters has been launched to make available new strategy tools and frameworks for clusters functioning as meta-organisations. While we offer these free-of-charge, we also propose a range of supporting services for a fee which will help support our future research.

the cluster business model

We designed our business model framework based on extensive research into the existing  business modelling approaches and combining these with the findings of cluster research.

This framework has been tested in a number of clusters worldwide and adapted to reflect the real challenges and needs of the cluster community.

The downloadable framework includes a ready-to-use business model canvas and a guide for its application in practice.


The cluster business model tool helps forge a common vision among cluster members and thus to build better alignment and cohesion in the cluster.

The tool allows to building the engagement of cluster members by helping define common values and better differentiate between the roles of each actor in the value creation process.

To help support our research, we offer a range of supporting services for a fee. We can offer you a workshop to dive deeper into our business modelling approach and/or facilitate a business modelling session. See the full range of our services here >>

Our tools and guides are offered free of charge under the Creative Commons license 2.0 (CC BY-NC). This means that you are free to reproduce and adapt this tool but are required to note the authorship. More information >>

the innovation-centric cluster design guide

To help clusters design their business models and improve their innovation performance, we developed a set of recommendations.

While not all clusters aim at fostering their members innovativeness, this is certainly the goal of many. Notably, those striving to transform their regions and reorient these towards the knowledge economy.

Based on a review of research into cluster innovativeness, we identified a set of its key drivers and success factors. We then transformed these findings into a 'cluster innovativeness test' which we offer to you for free. We are also working on an interactive self-assessment tool and will be offering it to you on this platform shortly.

This test will help you identify your current strengths as well as the weaknesses hampering the innovativeness of your cluster.

While the basic assessment is offered free-of-charge, we also propose to dive deeper and devise recommendations for a transformation of your business model. This service is offered for a fee to support our research. See the full range of our services here >>


other tools

Designing Clusters is an evolving project and we are working on new tools and guides to help you steer your meta-organisations.

We would be happy to learn about your ideas for other tools which could help you steer your clusters.

If you are interested to learn more about our work or willing to collaborate on research or consulting projects, do get in touch! Please see here an open call for collaboration proposals.